Football   
    Viva Las Vegas
    USC looks forward to taking on the Utes at Sam Boyd Stadium Christmas Day.
    USC looks forward to taking on the Utes at Sam Boyd Stadium Christmas Day.

    Nov. 27, 2001

    USC (6-5, 5-3) and Utah (7-3, 4-2) of the Mountain West Conference have accepted bids today (Nov. 27) to play in the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl on Christmas Day. The game will be televised live on ABC Sports beginning at 12:30 p.m. (PT).

    "We are thrilled to have two teams of this caliber and tradition as representatives in the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl," said Tina Kunzer-Murphy, Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl executive director. "We have the opportunity to host two excellent teams, and we're excited about the prospects for Christmas Day. We eagerly anticipate the arrival of the teams and fans into Las Vegas for a one-of-a-kind bowl experience."

    After beginning the season 1-4, the Trojans have won five of the last six games, including four in a row against Pac-10 Conference rivals Arizona (41-34), Oregon State (16-13), Cal (55-14) and UCLA (27-0). The Trojans are led by first-year head coach Pete Carroll, a veteran of 27 college and professional seasons.

    "On behalf of the entire Trojan family, we are excited to be back in a bowl game this year, and we look forward to being in Las Vegas," said Mike Garrett, USC director of athletics. "It should be an outstanding trip for our players, staff and fans. We believe this is the start of USC football's rise back to prominence. Pete Carroll has done a fine job coming in and rebuilding our program, and now we need to continue the process and win the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl."

    "We are delighted to have earned the right to play in the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl," said USC Head Coach Pete Carroll. "It's a great opportunity for our players and it should be an enjoyable trip for our fans. Although our season didn't start off as we had hoped, our players really rallied to turn things around and we finished strong. But our work is not done yet, as we'll be facing a very good football team in Utah, which had some big wins this year and came within a couple of points of upsetting BYU and Colorado State on the road. Utah has one of the nation's better offenses, with an effective ground game, and it has a dominating defense, which is ranked high in every NCAA statistical category. We're looking forward to the bowl experience, but we know we'll have to be at our best to win the game."

    Utah has put together a solid season and is balanced on both sides of the football. On offense, the Utes boast a 1,000-yard rusher in Dameon Hunter and have completed passes to 19 different receivers. On defense, Utah is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring defense and 19th overall in total defense. The Utes are led by Head Coach Ron McBride, now in his 12th year at Utah. The Utes finish their season Saturday, Dec. 1 at Air Force.

    "We're excited about the chance to play in the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl," said Chris Hill, University of Utah director of athletics. "Our team is well deserving of this opportunity and we look forward to playing a quality opponent from the Pac-10. We're playing very well right now, and I think it will be a great match-up."

    "This is the game we wanted all along," said Utah Head Coach Ron McBride. "It's our No. 1 choice. We get to play a Pac-10 school that's playing good football right now. Our fans can really get excited about a name opponent like USC. Our team has really played well all year, and we earned our way into this bowl. The last time we went to this bowl I had the most fun I've ever had at a bowl game, and we're just really excited about it."

    When USC and Utah arrive for the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl, the players, coaches, administrators and fans will be able to enjoy a complete bowl experience. As part of Bowl Week, the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl will host events at some of the city's most exciting attractions. The events include a Welcome Reception at the ESPN Zone, the Kickoff Luncheon at the MGM Grand and the Pep Rally and Buffet Bowl at the Golden Nugget/Fremont Street Experience. These activities will be set against the backdrop of Las Vegas, a world-renowned event and resort destination that attracted more than 35 million visitors in 2000. Legendary quarterback Joe Namath, will serve as the honorary chairman of the tenth anniversary of the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl.

    The host hotel for USC is the MGM Grand. For information about room reservations, fans can call 1-800-929-1111. The MGM is offering a special $89 rate for Trojan fans. The host hotel for Utah is the Golden Nugget. Fans can call the Golden Nugget at 1-800-634-3454 for more information.

    The 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium will serve as the host venue for the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Tickets are available at the USC Ticket Office at (213) 740-4672. Prior to the game, you can join the Trojan Marching Band and Song Leaders at a Tailgate Extravaganza adjacent to Sam Boyd Stadium. Information about this special event will be included with your tickets.

    Additional information about the game can be viewed via the Internet at the official Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl Web site at www.lvbowl.com.